Bernice and I moved into the neighborhood at the beginning of last year. We loved the architecture and the winding streets, the beautiful trees and our lovely park and the stunning views of downtown just around the corner from our new home. What we could not know before was that the warmth and sense of community shared by our wonderful neighbors is by far the most valuable aspect of Oak Hills.
One night a few months after we moved is an example of this:
You may remember there was a terrible storm that knocked out the power in the neighborhood. There was a tornado warning, so we grabbed our dog and cat and bottle of wine (priorities) and retreated to our downstairs room to wait out the weather. Sitting there in the dark with the wind howling and mobile phones sounding the weather alerts, we got a text message from our new friend, Megan Kromer, asking if we were alright. We spent the next 20 minutes messaging back and forth until the danger had passed but meanwhile, Megan, with her characteristic humor had made the tornado watch an enjoyable event! However, if we had been less lucky or had needed help we had a neighbor right there with us. And the Kromers had us too, if we had been needed.
As your incoming Safety and Security Officer for the OHCA, my hope is that we can continue to grow this sense of shared responsibility as caring for one another will be our most powerful tool in promoting a safe neighborhood for all of us. In the coming weeks, I hope to begin by simply following and expanding on the work of our new OHCA President, Phillip Baker, as well as starting a conversation with the rest of you who may have ideas as to how we ensure the safety and security of homes and families. Here are just a few of the brainstorms/possibilities I have had as well as some work that is already being done:
- City cooperation: The indefatigable Wendy Long has already initiated talks with the city to conduct a traffic study to explore ways we might limit speeders and nuisance cut-through drivers. Along with speeders, there is a possibility we could find ways to deter property crime. There are a number of strategies that could be suggested as the bureaucratic process continues, your input will be valuable and needed so that we can all decide together how best to proceed.
- OHCA stickers for cars. Many of the comments on Next Door related to Safety have to do with suspicious vehicles. Let’s promote the use of stickers, so that we know which cars belong here and which are passing through.
- Garage Clean-Out Day. A significant portion of property crime in the area has been opportunistic thieves going through cars in driveways. Of course, for many it may not be possible to put all vehicles inside. And, for many of us garages are being utilized more for storage than parking areas (The Bonner’s for example). Maybe we could work together as a neighborhood, along with local student leadership organizations (Jefferson, Marshall in return for donations/food) and do a neighborhood-wide Garage Clean-Out/Donation day?
- OHCA discounts for alarm installation/service.
- Expanding, re-starting Neighborhood on Patrol.
- Regular meetings with interested neighbors who would like to volunteer their time and energy to making our neighborhood safer than it already is!
- Meeting our 5 closest neighbors (the two on each side and three across the street) and partnering with them to keep an eye out together. Credit to Lance Leone on this one.
In the coming weeks, I hope to begin by simply following and expanding on the work of our new OHCA President, Phillip Baker, as well as starting a conversation with the rest of you who may have ideas as to how we ensure the safety and security of homes and families.